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AIDS PUPPETS (article first published : 2000-07-8)

With the eyes of the international community on Durban and the XIII International AIDS Conference, the community-based arepp Educational Trust is on tour delivering an innovative approach to the AIDS pandemic

As an NGO, arepp aims to educate and inform South Africans of all ages through the unique form of "edutainment" using theatre and/or puppetry. These are successful mediums because of their non-threatening and universal nature which reach audiences of all ages. Arepp’s current HIV/AIDS educational show is called Check Your Mate. Utilizing the interactive format of a game show mixed with elements of a talk show, along with the well-known puppets from the original Puppets Against AIDS, Check Your Mate offers energy, life and colour and a new way of examining the effects of HIV/AIDS.

The leading characters Joe and Mary (the two puppets from the original Puppets Against AIDS) take the audience through several special scenes in their life. These lead up to their present situation where they are now both HIV positive and Joe is living with AIDS. After each scene, the choices offered to Joe and Mary are presented to the audience by means of interactive games, quiz's and races. The audience is then encouraged to see what should be done to prevent similar circumstances from affecting them.

The show aims to stimulate knowledge and discussion using entertainment as its vehicle. Facilitated discussion is conducted with the audience, including a participatory condom demonstration. Information brochures and condoms (when available) are distributed at the end of each show.

Check Your Mate is currently touring KZN and will perform in the following towns: Glencoe (July 10 to 15); Vryheid (July 17 to 22); Utrecht (July 24 to 29) and Newcastle (July 31 to August 3).

More details from Gerrit Maritz on telephone/fax (011) 485 4771 or 082 681-8456. e-mail: arepp@global.co.za




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